Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jean Pierre K. Thomas v. Correctional Officer Bonilla

January 12, 2012

JEAN PIERRE K. THOMAS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CORRECTIONAL OFFICER BONILLA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL (DOC. 92)

Plaintiff Jean-Pierre K. Thomas ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). Plaintiff is proceeding pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action is proceeding against Defendants M. P. Garcia and Bonilla for excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's motion to compel, filed October 14, 2011. Pl.'s Mot. Compel, Doc. 92. Defendants filed their opposition on December 8, 2011. Defs.' Opp'n, Doc. 98. Plaintiff filed his reply on December 22, 2011. Doc. 99.*fn1 The matter is submitted pursuant to Local Rule 230(l).

I. Motion To Compel

A. Interrogatories

Plaintiff moves to compel further response from Defendant Garcia as to Interrogatory Nos. 3 and 9.

Interrogatory No. 3: If your response to Request for Admission No. 1, set one is anything other than an unequivocal admission, IDENTIFY all witnesses with personal knowledge of the basis of your response. (the tern "IDENTIFY" as used herein means state the name and location of employment and telephone number and or so forth.

Interrogatory No. 9: If your response to Request for Admission No. 3, set one, is anything other than an unequivocal admission, IDENTIFY all witnesses with personal knowledge of the basis of your response.

Defendant Garcia's response to both is: "Defendant objects to this interrogatory on the grounds that it is incomprehensible."

Plaintiff contends that he requested that Defendant Garcia identify all witnesses who claim to know relevant facts regarding the incident at question, if he did not admit to Requests for Admissions Nos. 1 and 3. Pl.'s Mot. Compel 13-14. Defendant Garcia contends that the interrogatories as written are incomprehensible, because the basis of Defendant Garcia's knowledge is his personal knowledge. Def.'s Opp'n 2-3. Defendant Garcia denies slamming Plaintiff to the ground, denies Plaintiff's claimed injuries, and denies that he had any conversation with Plaintiff after he was placed in the holding cell. Id. Thus, Defendant Garcia contends that he cannot identify anyone with knowledge of the facts alleged by Plaintiff. Id. Defendant responded to Plaintiff's Requests For Admissions Nos. 1 and 3 by denying them.

"An interrogatory may relate to any matter that may be inquired into under Rule 26(b) [of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure]." Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a)(2); see also id. 26(b)(1) ("Parties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense -- including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons who know of any discoverable matter.").

Defendant's objection amounts to a vague or ambiguous objection. The Court agrees with Defendant's objection. Plaintiff's interrogatories, as phrased, requests identification of witnesses who have personal knowledge of Defendant's personal knowledge. It appears that what Plaintiff meant to ask was the identity of any witnesses to the incident in question, which were not the interrogatories served. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion to compel further response to Interrogatories Nos. 3 and 9 to Defendant Garcia are denied.

B. Production Of Documents

A party may be ordered to produce a document in the possession of a non-party entity if that party has a legal right to obtain the document or has control over the entity who is in possession of the document. Soto v. City of Concord, 162 F.R.D. 603, 620 (N.D. Cal. 1995). As this Court explained in Allen v. Woodford, 2007, U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11026, *4-6, 2007 WL 309945, *2 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 30, 2007) (internal citations and quotations omitted):

Property is deemed within a party's possession, custody, or control if the party has actual possession, custody, or control thereof or the legal right to obtain the property on demand. A party having actual possession of documents must allow discovery even if the documents belong to someone else; legal ownership of the documents is not determinative. Control need not be actual control; courts construe it broadly as the legal right to obtain documents upon demand. Legal right is evaluated in the context of the facts of each case. The determination of control is often fact specific. Central to each case is the relationship between the party and the person or entity having actual possession of the document. The requisite relationship is one where a party can order the person or entity in actual possession of the documents to release them. This position of control is usually the result of statute, affiliation or employment. Control may be established by the existence of a principal-agent relationship.

Such documents also include documents under the control of the party's attorney. Meeks v. Parson, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90283, 2009 WL 3303718 (E.D. Cal. September 18, 2009) (involving a subpoena to the CDCR); Axler v. Scientific Ecology Group, Inc., 196 F.R.D. 210, 212 (D. Mass. 2000) (A "party must product otherwise discoverable documents that are in his attorneys' possession, custody or control."); Gray v. Faulkner, 148 F.R.D. 220, 223 (N.D. Ill. 1992); see also Cal. Code Regs. tit. 15, § 3370(e) ("No case records file, unit health records, or component thereof shall be released to any agency or person outside the department, except for private attorneys hired to represent the department, the office of the attorney general, the Board of Parole Hearings, the Inspector General, and as provided by applicable federal and state law."). Request No. 1: Each and every audio tape recording, including, but not limited to, correctional facility, correctional officer internal affairs, communication and dispatch tapes, and audio tapes of interviews of persons concerning the INCIDENT*fn2 or investigation thereof.

Defendant Garcia responded that he would make arrangements for the video recording of Plaintiff's interview concerning this incident to sent to Plaintiff's current facility of incarceration. Plaintiff indicates in his reply that he is satisfied with Defendant's response. Pl.'s Reply 5. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion to compel further response from Defendant Garcia to Request For Production No. 1 is denied.

Request No. 3: Each and every statement, however recorded or memorialized, of all persons interviewed concerning the INCIDENT or the INVESTIGATION of the INCIDENT.

Defendant Garcia responded by stating that the Rules Violation Report and Incident Report concerning this incident are in Plaintiff's ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.